The ‘Missing’ Roadmap

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Both Islamabad and the Hurriyat have repeatedly been drawing attention of the entire world to the seven decade old Kashmir issue, emphasising that this ‘internationally recognised dispute’ has remained unresolved due to the collective apathy of the UN and international community. Unfortunately, despite all these efforts, the lack of any worthwhile response from the UN or the international community conveys an impression that no one really seems to care about Kashmir. Even more distressing is that even the joint effort of Islamabad and the Hurriyat to arouse international sentiments by highlighting ‘Indian atrocities’ in Kashmir appear to be bearing no fruit.

Last year when the summer agitation was at its peak, Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani had said, “Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now” and this announcement generated a sense of euphoria amongst Kashmiri youth. However, their optimism wasn’t shared by the older generation because more than a quarter century ago they too being young and innocent had been enamoured by a strikingly similar slogan. Coined by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) the proclamation that ‘azadi’ (freedom) was ‘just around the corner’ enthused an entire generation and spurred by the idea of being part of the ‘freedom movement’, thousands left the comfort of their homes, studies and jobs to participate in the ‘armed struggle’.

Unfortunately, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik decided to abruptly call off the ‘armed struggle’. Malik’s sudden volte face may have personally benefitted him by elevating his status from that of a militant to an exalted Kashmiri leader who had eschewed the path of violence. However, the ‘freedom fighters’ who had so selflessly responded to his appeal were left to fend for themselves. Those who once dreamt of being cheered by enthusiastic crowds as they victoriously marched with their Kalashnikovs down the streets of ‘independent Kashmir’, suddenly realised that all the talk about ‘azadi being just around the corner’ was a big fat lie.

Why hasn’t the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir and the Hurriyat led peaceful campaign for the ‘right to self determination’ made any progress even after more than a quarter century is a question that stares us straight in the face. Our leaders keep telling us that New Delhi stands ‘isolated’ on the Kashmir issue but if this really the case then why is no one listening to us? We are simultaneously told that motivated economic considerations and ‘international conspiracies’ are the reasons for the international community’s apathy towards the Kashmir issue. However, if this is so then on what basis do we claim that on the Kashmir issue New Delhi has been ‘isolated’ by the international community?

Being contradictory, these inferences and explanations are confusing. If we claim that we already have support of the international community on the Kashmir issue then where is the requirement for our leaders to continue embarrassing themselves by making repeated appeals for international intervention on Kashmir? And if we accept that India wields such overwhelming influence over the international community that none dare annoy New Delhi on the Kashmir issue, then there is something seriously wrong in the way Islamabad and the Hurriyat is presenting our case on Kashmir. Somebody has to come out with a convincing answer that explains why despite having UN resolutions in our favour, both Islamabad and the Hurriyat haven’t been able to convince the international community of fulfilling its moral responsibility to resolve the Kashmir imbroglio by compelling India to implement UN resolutions on Kashmir?

The separatist conglomerate’s ‘protest calendar’ strategy may keep the pot simmering indefinitely, it most certainly cannot achieve the ‘self determination’ goal. Similarly, Islamabad’s queer strategy of talking about peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and in the same breath justifying militancy by calling it ‘freedom struggle’ lacks international appeal and is just a self defeating enterprise.

 The Hurriyat is certainly doing a good job in keeping the Kashmir issue ‘alive’ by holding frequent protests and Islamabad is also doing its bit by regularly issuing statements to express solidarity with the separatists and calling for implementation of UN resolutions on Kashmir. However, while the separatist conglomerate’s ‘protest calendar’ strategy may keep the pot simmering indefinitely, it most certainly cannot achieve the ‘self determination’ goal. Similarly, Islamabad’s queer strategy of talking about peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and in the same breath justifying militancy by calling it ‘freedom struggle’ lacks international appeal and is just a self defeating enterprise. Thus, it is obvious that the Kashmir movement’s lack of progress is only because neither Islamabad nor the Hurriyat seems to have a ‘road-map’ that contains a well conceived and long term strategy.

Recently the ‘road map’ issue came up once again from an unexpected quarter. Responding positively to Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani’s appeal asking mainstream parties to join the Hurriyat, Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) chief and Member of Legislative Assembly from Langate Engineer (Er) Abdul Rashid said, “I am open to the idea, if Geelani sahib can provide some concrete road map to carry forward the movement in a better way.” What the AIP chief in his own indomitable style has said is plain and simple- the Hurriyat’s present strategy is not at all reassuring and that’s why the separatist conglomerate needs to prepare a “concrete roadmap” so that it that can “carry forward the movement in a better way.”

One wonders if the joint Hurriyat will take note of and act upon Er Rashid’s sincere advice.

   

 

 

 

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